How To Add And Remove SQL Server 2008 / 2008R2 Instances

After installing Visual Studio 2010 I, inadvertently ended up with SQL Server 2008 Express having already installed SQL Server 2008 Developer. Only when I was going to upgrade to SQL Server 2008R2 I found out I had two instances installed.

I looked everywhere for a place to remove the SQLEXPRESS instance but couldn’t find it.

Only when I decided to uninstall the entire SQL Server suite and start over I found how to do it.

On Windows 7, go to Programs and Features and choose Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 (64-bit) (or whatever your version of SQL Server you want to add or remove and instance from).

Choose Remove (or Add, if you want to add a new instance).

Follow the steps and choose which instance you want to remove.

Select the features of that instance you want to remove (select all to remove the instance).
Note: Don’t remove shared features if you don’t want to remove any other instances.

It’s probably something I should have known, but I didn’t and it wasn’t easy to find.

42 thoughts on “How To Add And Remove SQL Server 2008 / 2008R2 Instances”

  1. I was on step2 and didn’t want to click on “remove” button until I see your screen captures.


  2. I was at the point of uninstalling SQL Server and re-installing it. So, “Remove” didn’t scare me that much at that point. 🙂

    Always glad to help.

  3. Thank you for having made this page. It really save me lots of time and spared me lots of troubles.

  4. Thanks bro saved a lot o my time :)this was the only proper one i could find too cuz it’s a scary thing to press remove haha

  5. Yeah! Exactly what I was looking for!
    Damn, I should have asked Google earlier..
    Thanks heaps!

  6. when ever i try to uninstall or follow your procedure, in removal window there is no insatance selcetion it gives all the options or step acept “Select Instance” please help.

  7. Thanks for the info.

    My intention was not to replace the official documnentation nor I reccomend that.

    There are also MSDN articles on this subject.

    By the way, KB articles are not product documentation. They are for solving problems which, sometimes, are lack of documentation.

    I still thnik that SQL Server documentations is great in general, but the fact is that, when I needed, I couldn’t find it. Nor did the hundreds of users that still come to my blog posts on this subject.

    By the way, how and why did you find this post?

    Once again, thanks for th info.

  8. I’ve isntalled SQL Express 2008 Management Studio. I’ve went step by step on how to install it. Everything went well. however, when I try to loggin, I can’t.

    Server Type: Database Engine
    Server Name: (local)\Sqlexpress
    Authentication : Windows Authentication
    User Name: Computer name

    When I try to login I get an error message:
    Cannot conect to (local)\Sqlexpress server

    Additional Information:
    A netowrk-related or instance-Specific error occured while establishing a connection to SQL Server. The Server was not found or was not accessible. Verify that the instance name is correct and that SQL server is configured to allow remote connections.( Provider: SQL Network Interfaces, error: 26 – Error Locating Server/Instance Specified) (Microsoft SQL Server)

    I’ve looked in SQL Server Configuration Manager and here are no instances under SQL Server Services. Could this be the problem.

    If so, how do I fix this? any help you can provide is greatly appreciated.

  9. Franco,

    SQL Server Management Studio is a client tool to manage/query servers/datbases. It doesn not inclued the services.

    You need to install SQL Server Express to install the services.

  10. I don’t recall if the uninstaller ask if the files should be preserved.

    Just to be on the safe side, if you want to keep any database, backp it up or detach it before removing the instance.

  11. Thanks this saved some time 🙂
    Many websites only works with server 2008 so better to go with that one.

  12. dude, Thanks alot for saving me hours….this sql server is a headche to deal with!! and microsoft cannot even point those simple things out in their 1000 pages long articles!

  13. Hi

    I have followed your instructions to remove the instance and I done it successfuly but after that I’m not able to connect to my sql server.

    my sql server was : WIN03_9\SQL08R2
    after uninstaling instance i’m trying to connect like : WIN03_9
    Even I tried to connect through IP Address as well but no use. Can you please help me on this.

  14. Hi Paulo,

    I followed your instructions on how to remove SQL Server instance and did it successfully but now when I try to login to SQL Server I’m not able to do so , It’s giving me error Anetwork related or instance – specific error occured.

    Earlier Sql Server Name : WIN03_9\SQL08R2
    Now I’m trying like : WIN03_9

    Please tell me what I’m doing wrong . I have tried to connect through IP Address as well.

  15. The \SQL08R2 part identifies an instance that is not the default instance.

    If you remove that instance and don’t have a default instance (or any other named instance) you’ll end up with none.

    SQL Server instances are always accessible by IP,port or hostname,port. To access it with IP\name or hostmane\name you’ll need to have the SQL Browser service running. Configuration of the firewall might be needed.

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